An Open Letter to Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

Can we please have more movies like Hidden Figures?

Oh, you don’t remember what movie that is? It’s okay, I know you have many movies coming out all the time, here let me remind you.

This movie is important. Very important. In the past, forever, there has been a problem with you guys when it comes to casting black women in major movies. I mean look no further than #OscarsSoWhite. But if you want to look further, look at the few black women who have won Oscars for acting. What roles did they play? Maid, a phony, singer, abused woman, maid, abusive woman, and slave.

black oscar ladies

Cool, guys, real cool.

It is not hard to cast a black woman as a doctor, or a CEO or a scientist, you just do it, whether the story is fiction or not.

Back to Hidden Figures. This movie is very important. It’s one of the few movies that not only shows black women in a positive and admirable light, but it also takes place around the civil rights era and still manages to not have the three main black characters who aren’t maids, or slaves, or abused. They’re not known for their bodies, they’re, get ready for it, known for their brains. What?!

Additionally, the director, Theodore Melfi, whether he knows it or not, is being a great example of a white ally. The movie is directed by a white dude and written by him and Allison Schroedera white women, based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly (a black woman). Essentially Melfi is using his white manness and bringing to light an important story told by a black woman about black women because it would take years for this movie to be made otherwise. The actual book Hidden Figures isn’t available to buy yet!

So, Hollywood, we know you’re running out of ideas. You keep making sequels and threequels and Marvel movies and DC movies and remakes and we’re getting pretty sick of it. There are other stories that can be told about plenty of people of color who have done remarkable things or who have interesting stories to be told. When this movie does well, let it be an example for you. You can absolutely make more movies like this, people want to see them, people have to see them. You should do your part in making yourselves  #ALittleLessWhite.

Thanks,

Ailish

 

 

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